For those of us who have grown up (and grown old) under the Cold War’s shadow of possible nuclear war, President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima has been particularly moving. As a second grader, I was taught to “duck and cover” — to hide under my school desk to protect myself from a nuclear attack. In 1961, when President Kennedy told us to build fallout shelters, I could only visualize a world devastated by nuclear war. In my last year in high school, I feared that the Cuban Missile Crisis spelled the end of my world. As a Utah transplant, I learned of the terrible price paid by downwinders for our nuclear testing.
President Obama’s history-making visit to Hiroshima is tangible testimony about the horrors of war and an eloquent statement of our need to change our mindset about war itself: “To prevent conflicts by diplomacy, and strive to end conflicts after they have begun.”
Thank you, Mr. President. If we have the courage to do as he suggested, to “…reimagine our connection to one another as members of one human race,” perhaps our grandchildren can grow old without the threat of nuclear annihilation hanging over their heads.